Tag Archives: water drop photography

Water Drop Collision Images with the Canon PowerShot S110 Camera

Today I did one more round of water drop collision photography, following up on my experiments over the past month or so. This time, I used the Canon PowerShot S110, a really nice, very compact camera that takes Raw images and has full manual controls. (You really need to use manual focus for these images, as well as manual exposure.)

I should mention in passing that the only reason I had not tried this type of shooting with the S110 before now was that my camera went in for repairs in mid-June, and I just got it back yesterday. I had a mishap when I was trying to attach the S110 to a spotting scope for digiscoping; the attachment system I used did not work well, and I ended up pulling the lens assembly apart. I checked around on the internet and found a repair shop called Royal Camera Service, Inc., located in Illinois. I was a bit nervous about sending the camera out for repair, but I called them and then sent it out. It took quite a while, but, for $119.00, they did an excellent job, and restored the camera to good-as-new condition.

Anyway, I set the camera up in the same way I did for the earlier water drop shots, this time using a Youngnuo YN560 III flash along with the StopShot control device from Cognisys, Inc. I set the camera to Manual exposure mode and used manual focus; I pre-focused on a small hand bell sitting in the water tray at the spot where the water drops would fall. I set the exposure to 0.5 second and turned on the self-timer to 2 seconds. Then, after turning out the room lights, I pressed the shutter button, and, as the self-timer ran out, I pressed the button on the StopShot controller to trigger the falling of 2 water drops. After the drops passed the infrared sensor, the flash was triggered (during the half-second exposure), and the flash caused the camera to capture the image of the collision of the drops.

The setup for this procedure is shown in the first image in the gallery below, and sample images are included after that one.

One More Set of Water Drop Shots with the Sony DSC-RX100 Camera

I hope people aren’t starting to think I’m too focused on taking pictures of water drops. I have been posting a good many of those images lately, but this will probably be my last group of them, for a while at least. It took a good deal of effort and adjusting to get the water-drop equipment set up properly and to get the flash and camera working in sync with that equipment. So I wanted to get my photographs done with several different cameras while everything is set up, and then I will move on to something else.

Today I did one more set of photos with the Sony RX100 camera. These shots are not that different from the earlier ones in terms of the shapes that the drops made as they collided with each other, but the lighting was different and I used a different color scheme by placing red and blue sheets of paper behind the water tray. The gallery below shows these shots, which I have tried to arrange in roughly chronological order, showing one pre-collision image first, followed by images of drops in various stages of collision.

splash from water drop falling into dish of water, frozen by flash

Water Drop Series with the Leica D-Lux 6 Camera

Yesterday I worked some more with the StopShot device for taking high-speed photographs. I now feel as if I finally got the various components properly arranged and working together well–the StopShot itself, the Yongnuo YN560 flash, the water tray, the background elements, and the placing and focusing of the Leica D-Lux 6 camera.

With this setup, I was able to capture a chronological series of images of two water drops colliding to form interesting splash patterns. For the background, as described in an earlier post, I placed two sheets of construction paper, one red and one blue, behind the water tray and aimed the Yongnuo flash at the colored paper so the light of the flash would bounce onto the water as the drops splashed into the tray. This time, I got the manual focusing more exact than before and got the timing figured out so I could capture a series of images showing how the drops fall.

The series does not show the same drops falling; each image is of a new set of drops, but taken at a different stage in the process, a few milliseconds later each time. In the gallery below, the first two images show the setup. In the second image, you can see the Yongnuo flash at the left side, aimed at the red and blue sheets of paper.

Then, in the remaining shots, you can see images of the drops before they collide, followed by views of later stages of the collisions.

Using the Leica D-Lux 6 for Water Drop Photography

I have recently made a few posts about water drop photography using the Sony DSC-RX100 and the Panasonic Lumix LX7. Today I will post a few photos I took with the Leica D-Lux 6 using a similar setup. These shots all were taken in Manual exposure mode with the shutter speed set to 0.5 second and the aperture set to f/8.0. I used manual focus for each shot, focusing ahead of time on a small hand bell in the water tray where the drops would be falling. I have continued to make adjustments to the arrangement and lighting of the water tray, so the images in the gallery below look a bit different from the ones I posted earlier.

For these shots, I used a larger tray to hold the main body of water, and I had the drops falling from a different height. I also placed sheets of red and blue paper behind the tray, so when the flash fired it bounced off both sheets, adding blue and red streaks to the images. I plan to keep experimenting with this setup, because there are so many possibilities for getting interesting images. For now, here are a few shots, one showing two drops before they collided, and the others showing the results of several other collisions.

More Water Drop Photography with the Sony RX100

A little over a week ago I wrote about my first attempts at water drop photography using the Sony DSC-RX100 camera, using its BULB setting to hold the shutter open while the flash fires and the drops hit the water. Those first attempts were interesting, but not all that successful. Since then, I have switched to using a different type of infrared sensor, which has given me more consistent results. I also purchased an excellent e-book on the subject called The Ultimate Guide to Water Drop Photograpy, by Corrie White (same last name as me, but no relation). Using the new equipment and several helpful tips from the e-book, I adjusted my setup in several ways. I placed a green-colored translucent sheet over the Yongnuo flash to add color, and I used a larger tray for the water. I found a better way to adjust the focus, by standing a small handbell in the tray of water where the drops hit, and focusing on the bell’s handle. I used microphone stands to hold up the infrared sensors, instead of tripods, so the setup is much less cluttered than before and it is possible to adjust everything so the drops hit in a good location to capture interesting splashes and collision.

Once I had everything set up in the new arrangement, I was able to experiment with the timing of the drops. I think the results this time were definitely better than the results from last week. In the gallery below, there is a shot of the new setup, followed by the actual water drop shots. The first of those shots shows the crown shape that results when a single drop splashes into the water. The other shots all involve double drops. For those shots, the StopShot equipment releases two drops so that one drop will collide with the other. Once the timing is adjusted properly, you can get results like those shown here, when the collisions between the drops produce a fairly dramatic pattern of water spreading out in a circle.

I plan to keep working on this type of photography, and I will post more shots if I find ways to improve the results.

Setup for Taking Images of Water Drops

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blue bowl full of water with splash from water drop frozen by flash

Water Drop Photography with the Sony DSC-RX100 Camera

For a long time I have admired high-speed photographs that capture images of subjects like speeding bullets, bursting balloons, and splashing drops of water or other liquids. Over the past couple of days I finally got the opportunity to try out this type of photography myself using my Sony DSC-RX100 camera.

I am not enough of a handyman to put together the necessary components for these shots on my own, so I ordered a kit from a company called Cognisys, Inc.  I purchased their StopShot Water Drop Photography Kit, which includes the StopShot control device, a special valve that releases water drops, and the necessary cables to connect it all together. (There is a picture showing it as I set it up in the gallery at the bottom of this post.)

Once I had the kit set up so that water drops would be released on the press of a button, I connected up my flash unit, a Yongnuo Speedlite YN560. I chose that unit because it has a standard PC connection for a flash cord, which is necessary in order to synchronize the system. Once the flash was set up and the control unit was properly programmed, when I pressed a button the valve released a drop of water that splashed into a bowl of water about 24 inches (61 cm) below the valve, and the flash fired just as the water drop splashed into the bowl of water.

One reason the Sony RX100 camera is good for this type of photography is that it has a BULB setting for shutter speed. With the BULB setting, the shutter stays open for as long as you hold down the shutter button and closes only when you release the shutter button. With the use of the BULB setting, you don’t have to control the camera with the control unit.

In order to take a water drop picture with this setup, here is how I proceeded. With the StopShot equipment set up and synchronized, I set up the RX100 on a solid tripod–a Manfrotto 055XPROB with a 322RC2 joystick head. I set the camera to take Raw images in Manual exposure mode. I set the aperture to f/9.0 in order to get a broad depth of field, set the shutter speed to BULB, and used manual focus, because the camera would be shooting in the dark and it would be hard to use autofocus on a fleeting drop of water.

I dimmed the lights in the room to reduce the ambient light that might show up in the image. Then I pressed the shutter button to open the shutter in BULB mode, and immediately pressed the button on the StopShot control unit to release a drop of water. As soon as the drop hit the water in the bowl and the flash fired, I released the shutter button.

It took quite a few attempts and numerous misfires before I got a few shots that looked the way I hoped they would–with well-formed drops captured just above the water. As you can see in the images in the gallery below, I tried a couple of different angles.  I also experimented briefly with the procedure for releasing two drops of water in rapid succession, in hopes of capturing a collision between the two drops. I didn’t ever achieve a collision, though I did catch two drops in the last two images shown here.

Overall, I was quite happy with the StopShot setup, because it came with sufficient instructions for me to get it running without too much difficulty and it worked well, though it took a good deal of fiddling to get everything synchronized properly.

Apart from the tinkering with the StopShot system, the biggest difficulty I had was in getting the images focused sharply. I used the MF Assist menu option to focus on an enlarged image, and focused on a pencil head above the bowl where I expected the water drop to end up, but I don’t think I ever got the focus point to be exactly where it needed to be. In part, the difficulty in focusing stemmed from the RX100’s relatively large sensor, which gives the camera a relatively shallow depth of field. This situation makes it fairly easy to achieve a nice blurred-background effect, but it makes it a little harder to get completely sharp focus in a situation like this, when I was focusing on a very small point at a close distance.

Anyway, the gallery below has a picture of the setup I used, followed by the best of the single-drop and two-drop images that I managed to capture with the Sony RX100.

Setup for Water Drop Shots with Sony DSC-RX100 Camera

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